Fair Skills

Qualification as a youth culture trainer

On Social Education and Competence Orientation in the Transition from School to Work

How can young people who have not been reached by the education system be sustainably promoted and trained? And how can basic civic attitudes be imparted at the same time? "A considerable number of 16-year-olds and younger are resigned to the fact that, as remedial and secondary school students, they have ver­ined no or only very poorly paid job opportunities," says project initiator Silke Baer. "This fuels passivity or ex­tre­mis­mus and propensity to violence. Effective solutions need to be found here urgently." Currently, 15 percent leave school without a diploma, and among students with an immigrant background the figure is 30 percent. Even young people who have completed their secondary education often lack key basic skills that are relevant to their future careers.

With the FAIR SKILLS project, Cultures Interactive e.V. developed a procedure from 2009 to 2012 that opens up opportunities for qualification and social integration for these young people. FAIR SKILLS is based on youth cultures such as hip-hop, skateboarding, techno and media expressions such as radio production, and uses their civic values. The psychologically based courses that qualify people to become youth culture trainers were flanked by pedagogical and community-oriented measures. Because Cultures Interactive's work to date has ge­shown that adolescents from structurally­weak re­gio­ns with poor scholastic performance often have a surprising amount of verve, They often mobilize a surprising amount of verve, ambition, and competence when it comes to youth cultural activities - and they sometimes become small­ter­mers as a result. Moreover, youth cultures contain elements of a peda­go­gically valuable ethos of ge­gen­eral recognition, cosmopolitanism, ac­ti­ven to­le­rance and avoidance of violence.

Practice-oriented and interest-led learning

FAIR SKILLS thus represented a combination of two goals: qualification and vocational preparation on the one hand, and civil sociality and extremism prevention on the other. Practice-oriented, interess-guided learning goes hand in hand with the acquisition of important organisational and psychosocial basic skills: the soft skills or social skills, i.e. the skills of com­munication, conflict resolution, in­ter­cultural interaction and self­motivation.

After completing the qualification, the "youth culture trainers" were accompanied in their first practical experiences in independent work by psychologically trained specialists. At the same time, the participants in the course developed into civic factors in their community environment. "FAIR SKILLS shows young people from precarious environments that they can use their own interests to develop personal skills that are essential for a successful entry into professional life and civil life." Furthermore, the evaluation findings of the Xenos project emphasize that "activities against xenophobia and racism" are best carried out in direct connection with "a labor market context," because the same central personality skills need to be promoted here as there.


FAIR SKILLS approached young people from educationally disadvantaged Mi­lieus who had previous experience or in­res­se in the youth cultural field via youth and employment offices, schools, youth facilities and streetwork pro­jects. This could be: DJing or digital music production, ska­teboarding, learning to play instruments, drawing comics, spraying graffiti, break and street­dance, orga­ni­sie­ring concerts or parties. The young people choose one of the four courses: GRAPHICS (with street art, graf­fiti, comics), SPORTS (with breakdance, skateboarding, soccer), MUSIC (with tech­no and hip-hop DJ-ing, rap, digital music­pro­duc­tion, singer-songwriter, band­work­store) and MEDIA (with radio, video, photo, computer practice). Participants were enabled to conduct beginner workshops with their peers in their region, passing on not only ju­gend cultural techniques, but also their zi­vil­ge­sell­schaft values. Training was systematically provided on three levels: (1) the techniques of the chosen youth cultural forms of expression, (2) the background knowledge about the civic­legal­and anti-racist ge­schich­te of the urban youth cultures and thus, above all, the basic moral-ethical attitudes of ge­gen­sei­ti­gen respect contained therein, of active tolerance and avoidance of violence, as well as knowledge about political and religious ex­tre­mis­mus (3) and basic communicative and emo­tio­nal skills (social skills).

By means of low-threshold methods of supervised and group­dy­na­mi­cial work, the participants were supported in their skills of self-awareness, conflict reflection and group interaction, also in relation to gender roles and cultural/ ethno­nical self-positioning. This is because coaching and supervision are especially effective with young people from socially deprived backgrounds (and are by no means limited to adults in elevated positions). Furthermore, simple peda­go­gical procedures were taught, with which the youth culture trainers were able to create a productive climate of peer learning and effectively limit destructive behavior, e.g. through bullying. Training was also given on how to appear before authorities and how to deal with regional institutions.

Fifteen-day courses were held in several blocks at the EJBW Weimar over the course of six months, attended by 16- to 22-year-olds who were unemployed or unemployable, or who came from remedial, secondary, regular or vocational preparation schools. After completion, the certified FAIR SKILLS "youth culture trainers" were supported in establishing contact with youth institutions in the vicinity of their place of residence, where they could pass on their acquired skills to other young people in their own work stores. The pedagogues of these youth institutions received further training on the youth cultural peer learning approach as well as on violence and extremism prevention in order to ensure professional support on site. Employers and authorities in the re­gion with weak infrastructure were strongly encouraged to contribute to FAIR SKILLS in order to improve the situation of young people and strengthen local civil society resources.


April 2009 to April 2012


FAIR SKILLS was funded by the programme XENOS, by Aktion Mensch, Weimar-Jena-Akademie and EJBW.

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